You’ve recently purchased the Sony a6000 mirrorless camera, probably because you had heard that it is one of the most compact and travel-friendly companions for travellers with a keen photographic eye. However, what you may not have known is that the Sony a6000 is very versatile in its scope and should not be overlooked as a contender in becoming your primary camera for taking a wide range of striking photos, ranging from profile to landscape.
In fact, though the Sony a6000 is typically the go-to for tourist walks around cities as a travel-friendly option to its clunkier companions, it has a broader reach than that when it comes to capturing stunning photos for all occasions. In particular, it is a very useful tool for capturing landscape photography.
What sets apart the Sony a6000 as a landscape photography tool is its amazing versatility when it comes to useful functions such as having an in-camera Stitch Panorama mode, low light performance, and an optical viewfinder to ensure shake-free compositions. There are ways, however, to ensure you make the most out of your Sony a6000 and take fool-proof landscape photos that will be scenic enough to frame. Taking good photos isn’t always just down to the camera, but also the technique and skill of the photographer. Below you can read five photographer’s tips and tricks on guaranteeing that you use your camera to its fullest potential when taking landscape photos and that do your Sony a6000 justice.
Keep Things Sharp
The Sony a6000 is useful in that it has an optical viewfinder which greatly reduces the risk of shake; there’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve taken an excellent photo, then blowing it up on your laptop and realizing it’s all blurry! However, there are a few other tips you can follow to help you produce a sharper image. First, it’s best to keep to F5.6 aperture or higher; this way you can be sure that you will get the best detail and the sharpest image of the landscape you are capturing. Remember, the lower the aperture, the closer the object in focus has to be, so make sure that you are keeping your aperture high enough for the landscape to be in sharp focus. It will be very rare that you will have only an object in the foreground to focus on when taking landscape photos, so there should be no reason for you to be having a lower aperture than F5.6.
Second, define what the focal point of your photo is and then wait for the camera to focus. You may be eager to snap that shot, but always remember to wait for the camera to focus before shooting. This is one of the most common mistakes that beginner photographers make. We know that you’re very enthusiastic about photographing the beautiful sunset that is slowly slipping away, but always remember to focus so that you have no regrets later!
Use Lighting To Create Depth
The Sony a6000 has impressive low light performance, which is essential when wanting to photograph in tricker lighting such as cloudy days, dusk, and evening. Understanding light and the ways it can lend a hand to or create an obstruction for a photographer is crucial in all forms of good photography. In order to make most use of the lighting in your photos, you have to make the light work for rather for rather than become a nuisance to you.
When in doubt – go for drama, contrast, and colour. Sharp landscapes and loud colours can achieve this. However, good lighting is also very important in dramatizing your photo and setting the tone of your landscape. For instance, look out for a blast of light behind some clouds, or rays of light shining through branches in the forest. Knowing where to position your lens in order to play with light can make the difference between an average and professional looking landscape.
Remember that light can be multiplied and enhanced through reflections. A well-known photographer’s trick is to always look out for anything that may reflect or deflect light. A staple reflector is any sort of water, from a puddle to a lake. This amplifies that available light in your landscape and intensifies the appeal of your landscape by multiplying it. Always remember that photography is the art of capturing light, and as such, understanding lighting will be one of the most important skills you will master.
Be Brave With The Weather
As you may know, photographers are known for going to no end in order to capture the vision they have in mind. This may be climbing the peak of a mountain, getting very muddy crawling through dirt to get the perfect angle, or it may mean to be willing to go out in any condition, come what may.
This is where the Sony a6000 comes in very handy because of its compact size and light feel. You won’t be needing to lug around bags of equipment and heavy tools, you can just pop the Sony a6000 in your bag or pocket and run off to snap the perfect shot! This is especially useful on rainy and windy days when you may have found the perfectly picturesque and dramatic landscape and want to quickly capture it. This is where you’ll need to be brave with the weather – I promise it’ll be worth it! Some of photographer’s best photos have come from extraordinarily difficult circumstances and weather conditions such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and thunderstorms. You don’t have to be so very brave to begin with, but why not start with this – if it’s raining, zip up your Sony a6000, put on your rain jacket, and venture out into the downpour. Try to seize the mood and tone of the weather through lighting and angles. Harsh weather can make for some breathtakingly dramatic shots, so getting a bit wet will pay off in the end.
Choose The Right Focal Point
As mentioned above, the Sony a6000 has an in-camera Stitch Panorama function, which allows for you to include a much wider angle in your photos than you could otherwise. Though this may be a very tempting function as you will want to include as much as possible in this larger frame, it is important that you choose the right focal point.
It’s no use having everything you possibly can fit in your photo if it then becomes a cacophonous circus of objects fighting for attention in your composition. When starting off, it’s best to keep things simple and to choose just a few things to keep in focus, with one main object as the primary focal point.
Photographers like to go by the golden ratio and the rule of three when creating their compositions. A simple way to remember this is to always think of your photos as being split into three sections. It is advisable that you have an object in each of these three sections and usually the middle section will include the main object that you want to be your focal point. Of course, this is not a strict rule, but it is one way to create eye-capturing and intriguing photographs.
The golden ratio is also useful to keep in mind when it comes to composition; it’s known to be the artist and photographer’s closest friend for a good reason. Never underestimate the effect that good geometric proportions, composition, symmetry, and focalization can have on your landscape photography. Using effective ratios in your composition will mean that you will do the striking landscape in front of you justice on camera.
Think Of Your Photos As A ‘Story’
Lastly, don’t forget that photography still serves an audience. The most effective landscape photography is not just a pretty scene but will always tell the audience a story. As mentioned above, the Sony a6000 is the traveller’s friend. Compact, light, and versatile, it will be the lens through which you can tell the story of your travels, the people you’ve met, and the landscapes you have beheld.
Photography is a form of communication. Therefore, find a binding narrative that you want to tell in the landscape that you are capturing. Are the birds migrating over for the summer? Is the first sign of fall beginning to glow red on the mountain? Is this scene depicting a moment in time worth capturing?
Moreover, not only should your subject matter tell a story but likewise should your composition. Ask yourself, why have I positioned each object in my composition in this way? Conversely, what have I left out and why? How does this alter the narrative that I am constructing in my photo? The positioning of objects in your landscape will construct or deconstruct the story that you are trying to tell.
Your Sony a6000 will be your storytelling companion if you follow the five simple yet effective tips in this article. If you remember sharpness, depth, bravery, focalization, and storytelling, you’ll be on your way to creating spectacular compositions of your favourite landscapes.
Lastly, you never know what situation you may run into that will be worth capturing, therefore, most importantly, remember to take your camera with you wherever you go!